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April 2019 Vol. 15 No. 1

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John Zheng

Village in the Dream

The dirt road leads me through the mist to the village. By the creek washing girls’ laughter ripples over clothes batting; then a figure looms in with a wooden basket of clothes and bat – no longer the one reappearing before my eyes. I stroll on. A door creaks open, a middle-aged peasant shouldering a hoe wobbles to the vegetable patch; he doesn’t recognize me. We used to chat over liquor till daybreak. Four decades have long plowed away. Although my eager hand wants to lift the veil of memory, it has a heavy buildup of dust.

a sip of oolong –
rusticated years
no longer taste bitter
in recollection
a field of rice sprouts


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